In the wake of Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced on Monday that the city's gun buyback program would be moved to the day after Christmas.
"We must redouble our efforts to get deadly weapons off the streets," Villaraigosa said during a press conference at the Los Angeles Police Department's downtown headquarters. "I feel it's critically important to provide Angelenos with concrete actions to make our city safer. As such, the program, normally scheduled for May, will be held on next Wednesday, Dec. 26."
Villaraigosa said the program has taken more than 8,000 guns off the streets in previous years. In exchange for handguns, participants will receive a $100 Ralph's gift card. Those who turn in an assault weapon will receive a $200 Ralph's gift card.
The mayor spoke about the importance of moving forward from the Newtown tragedy with public policies that will help to prevent a similar incident from occuring here.
"Together we mourn the unspeakable loss that was suffered, and together we look for ways to ensure that such a tragedy will never happen again," Villaraigoisa said.
In his address, Villaraigosa said the "national tragedy was giving way to a national conversation" about how improved mental health services and tighter gun control laws could prevent mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Villaraigosa affirmed his support for legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would ban assault weapons.
"No single piece of legislation will solve all our problems, but an assault weapons ban is a powerful first step," he said. "Cities and states must join with the federal government to do everything we can, as quickly as we can, to keep our communities safe."